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Is there any difference between memory and invention? That is the question that fuels this stunning novel, written with the depth of character, the clarifying lyricism, and the heart-wrenching humor that have marked all of John Banville's extraordinary works. And it is the question that haunts Alexander Cleave as he plumbs the memories of his first - and perhaps only - love (he, just 15, the woman more than twice his age, the mother of his best friend; the situation impossible, thrilling, devouring, and finally devastating) . . . and of his daughter, lost to a kind of madness of mind and heart that Cleave can only fail to understand.
When his stunted acting career is suddenly, inexplicably revived with a movie role portraying a man who may not be who he says he is, his young leading lady - famous and fragile - unwittingly gives him the opportunity to see with aching clarity the "chasm that yawns between the doing of a thing and the recollection of what was done".
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Brian Datnow on 01-14-13
Banville at his best
Would you listen to Ancient Light again? Why?
No. I never reread a book.
What did you like best about this story?
What about Robin Sachs’s performance did you like?
Captures to essence of Banville.
Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
Any additional comments?
I consider John Banville/Benjamin Black to be one of the great contemporary writers. His characters and character descriptions are so detailed and convincing that the reader can picture and get to know the person. His stories are always interesting and often end with an unexpected twist.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
By victoria on 03-27-13
Robin Sachs is one of those few who can read the phone book and be captivating. And when he reads Banville's rich and graceful prose it's just the best. The story flows seamlessly from past to present to past again. Each character is developed just fully enough to make the book sing; nothing extra. The physical descriptions of places and persons are vivid and convey the sight, sound and smell of them. I will surely come back to this book.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful